Detroit Pistons: 3 early-season surprises in 2018-19

(Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /

3. Bruce Brown Jr. is making an immediate impact

A lot of NBA Draft experts and basketball analysts apparently underestimated the pro-readiness of Bruce Brown Jr.

The versatile 6’5″ guard was a productive triple-double threat at the University of Miami, but with a suspect jump shot and having missed most of last season due to injury, Brown slipped into the second round of the draft, where the Pistons got him with the 42nd pick.

Even after some standout NBA Summer League performances, the popular opinion was that Brown would spend most of his rookie season playing in the G League. Not only did he have some holes in his game that needed work, but the Pistons also had some veteran guards penciled in front of Brown on the depth chart.

With the turn of the calendar approaching, however, Brown is playing meaningful minutes for Detroit’s big-league squad and is making an immediate impact.

Brown is averaging 17.9 minutes per game and has played in 23 of Detroit’s 30 contests. He has been in the starting lineup seven times, including opening night against the Nets. More important than starting, Brown has also been on the court during crunch-time situations late in some games.

By comparison, fellow Pistons rookie guard Khyri Thomas — who was chosen with the 38th pick — has only played in five games and averaged 5.4 minutes in those appearances.

Brown is putting up 4.2 points per game. His shooting is still shaky — he’s making just 21.4 percent of his 3-pointers and 66.7 percent of his free throws — but he’s earning his playing time with solid defense for a team that struggles to get stops on the perimeter.